Perceived by the white settler as a primordial land lacking variety and natural grandeur, the Australian landscape, despite multiple incursions since colonisation, had yet to be reconciled with the aesthetic criteria of either the picturesque or the sublime. It took some imagination, therefore, to suggest that in certain respects the Yarra Ranges, reaching to just over 500 metres above sea level at Black Spur near Lindt's Hermitage, might be compared to the Swiss Alps of at least four times this height. The Melbourne based journalist James Smith (1820-1910) was able to propose this conceit by drawing on an aesthetic paradigm witnessed by him in the Swiss Alps and echoed, he believed, in the Yarra Ranges: cultivation and habitation could co-exist in a landscape of primordial forests . By drawing upon these conflicting aesthetics, Smith's reading of the Swiss Alps offered a new paradigm for the interpretation of Victoria's alpine forests. The aim of this paper is to explore how John William Lindt's (1845-1926) Hermitage and garden, identified by Smith in 1901 as a realisation of the ideal traveller's retreat, participated in the promotion of such ideals.